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Frequently Asked Questions

Why go to university?

There are many benefits to going to university, here are just of few of them:

  • Develop new skills
  • Follow up on what interests you
  • Improve your job prospects
  • Open up opportunities for professional progression
  • Earn more money
  • Pursue a career change
  • Meet new people
  • Have a new life experience

How is a degree made up?

  • A degree is made up of building blocks of study at different levels.
  • Each level is made up of different “modules” and each module is worth a number of “credits”, typically 10 or 20.
  • At each level (or year) you need to take enough modules to make up 120 credits (for example, six 20 credit modules) and 120 credits from levels 1, 2 and 3 to be awarded a degree.
  • Credits at level 0 do not count towards your degree as level 0 is a foundation year which prepares you for degree level study.
  • Every degree is made up of a combination of “core” (compulsory) modules and optional modules.

Diagram showing how a degree is made up.

Text version of the diagram

Level Three

  • The most complex, known as Degree
  • 360 credits (including 240 from Levels One and Two)

Level Two

  • Building on Level One, known as Diploma and level 2 also
  • includes Foundation Degrees
  • 240 credits (including 120 at Level One)

Level One

  • The introductory level, known as Certificate
  • 120 credits

Pre-Degree Level

  • Foundation Year/Access Courses/A Levels/Level 3 Study

What types of degree are available?

Placement degree

  • A Placement Degree includes a period of work experience equivalent to an academic year.
  • Many degrees can be studied over three years or four years as a placement degree.
  • You spend your first two years at university and commonly your third year will be spent in industry; putting the theory you have learnt into practice, before returning to complete your academic studies in your fourth year.
  • All our Business and Management and Engineering degrees are offered on a three or four year basis.
  • Other courses, for example Social Work and those offered by the Faculty of Health Studies include work experience as an integral part of the course

Foundation degrees

  • Foundation Degrees are usually studied two years full-time or a minimum of three years part-time.
  • They are usually planned with employers to help give you the skills needed for a specific job, through work based and flexible learning.
  • They are equivalent to two thirds of a degree (240 credits) and it is possible to “top-up” your foundation degree to an honours degree.

Foundation year

A Foundation Year does not lead to the award of a qualification but is a “preparatory” year of study to help you if you are not quite ready for degree level study by giving you the skills and knowledge you will need to succeed.

Course search

What qualifications do I need?

We receive applications from adult learners from extremely diverse backgrounds and with many different qualifications.

Access course

If you have not studied for a while or you do not have the right qualifications you might need to do an Access course before you start your degree. These courses are designed to prepare adults who left school without advanced level qualifications for higher education and they offer a supportive preparation for university.

Most local colleges offer Access courses:

  • There is also a distance learning Access Course available for students who require less support or have work commitments that prevent them attending a local college.
  • Course start and finish times are often ‘parent-friendly’ and they offer support and guidance with the application process.
  • Students requiring GCSE English and Maths can usually study these or the key skills equivalents alongside the Access Diploma.
  • The cost of the courses varies from college to college so it is worth checking out the cost before you commit.
  • Many Access courses specialise in a particular area (Law, Science, Health, for example) so ideally you need to have an idea of what you would like to study at university before choosing your Access course.
  • Access to Higher Education Diplomas are widely accepted across the University with only a few exceptions.
  • Access Diplomas are usually offered one year full-time or two years part-time at local Further Education colleges and therefore offer a quicker route into higher education than A levels or other courses.
  • There may also be the opportunity to study A levels at your local college. If you are working or are not able to find a suitable course of study in your area it is also possible to study A levels through distance learning.

Work experience

The Admissions team will take relevant work and life experience into account when considering your application and you will also need to provide some evidence that you are capable of success in higher education.


In addition to a Level 3 Access course you will also need Level 2 qualifications. These can vary so you need to check the requirements for your course. It is advisable to study GCSE’s or Level 2 qualifications before you start an Access Level 3 course. Further information about studying Level 2’s or GCSE’s can be obtained from colleges.

A levels or equivalent

You may also be asked to provide evidence of recent study at the “appropriate level”. In this case “recent” usually means within the last three to five years and the appropriate level is a level equivalent to A level study, such as an Access to Higher Education Diploma.

Foundation year

Another possible option, if you do not meet the entry requirements for your chosen degree, is to complete a foundation year.

At the University of Bradford there are foundation year programmes in Engineering and Clinical Sciences for students interested in progressing to these degree courses.

Entry requirements for the Foundation Year courses vary and details of the requirements and the course content can be viewed on the Undergraduate website.

Step by step guide

  • Find out the entrance requirements for the course(s) in which you are interested - these are listed in our Undergraduate website.
  • If you hold alternative qualifications to those listed check whether you meet the entry requirements for your chosen subject at the universities you are considering before making an application.
  • You will be able to speak to admissions tutors in person by attending University Open Day(s).
  • Alternatively you can forward your CV to the University’s Adult Learner Adviser, Caroline Priestley (see contact details below), who can liaise with the relevant admissions tutor to see if you will be considered or if you will need to undertake further study first.
  • Ensure that you include full details of the exams taken, dates and grades achieved and details of related work experience.
  • If you have not achieved the relevant qualifications, speak to your local Further Education College(s) and see which course is the most suitable for you to enable you to progress to the degree course(s) being considered.
  • Also make sure you have the relevant GCSE requirements at the right grades.
  • If you have not achieved the required GCSEs please ensure that you study them as well.
  • Check whether your chosen course needs related work experience so that you can start to build up the experience while you are studying.
  • Some courses require you to have work experience before you apply, for example you have to have 35 hours prior to application for Social Work courses.

Caroline Priestley, Adult Learner Adviser
Tel: 01274 235113

What do 'undergraduate' and 'postgraduate' mean?

An undergraduate student is usually studying for their first degree (usually entitled Bachelor of Arts [BA] or Bachelor of Science [BSc]. They do not usually have any prior qualifications at university level.

Once a student has a first degree they are called a graduate. The student may wish to take a higher degree often known as a postgraduate degree, e.g. Postgraduate Certificate, Postgraduate Diploma, Master’s Degree.

Course search

Search for a course

Can I fit study into my life?

The university year is split into two semesters. The first semester starts towards the end of September and ends in January. The second semester is from the end of January to the end of May.

Lectures take place Monday to Friday and usually between the hours of 9:00 until 18:00.

If you have children please ensure that you have a good support network in place to help with childcare. We also have a nursery which is based at the University.

Wednesday afternoons have traditionally been free for sports and recreation and no lectures take place. You may also find that there are whole days when you do not have to attend. Your timetable is likely to change between semester one and two.

The amount of contact time depends on the course that you are studying. For example if you are studying English the time that you will be required to attend will be a lot less than, for example, an Engineering student. This does not mean that the English student has less work to do; it is just that the Engineering degree involves a lot of practical work.

Is there childcare available?

The University of Bradford Nursery offers affordable childcare for children aged three months to five years. It offers sessions Monday to Friday between the hours of 7:45 and 18:00 and is open to students, staff members and the public.

How can I commute?

Bradford is a well connected city located in the heart of the UK, with excellent road and rail links.

By bus or train

Bradford has two railway stations; Bradford Interchange and Bradford Forster Square - both located within walking distance from the University's City Campus. There are also many bus routes in and out of Bradford city centre from Leeds, Halifax, Wakefield, Huddersfield and many other surrounding areas.

By car

If you plan to commute by car, on campus parking is available. Students must apply for parking permits annually and the number of student permits issued is restricted. Find out more about our Car Parking Policy and details on how to apply.

Can I afford to return to learn?

Being able to cope financially is a big worry for most students, regardless of age. For those students who have additional responsibilities, such as a mortgage or dependent children, it can be an even greater concern.

Student finance is complex but there is a lot of help available. In fact many mature students are surprised at the support they can access and are not aware that there are non-repayable grants and scholarships available in addition to the repayable student loans.

In order to get by some students may need additional help from the University by means of a short-term loan or a grant from the Access to Learning Fund (ALF) and student parents or students with dependant adults are given priority for help from this fund.

For more information see the Fees and Finance web pages.

What support is available?

As a University of Bradford student you will be supported throughout your time here. Our Student Services and Support team offer help with anything from careers advice to your health and wellbeing, including:

  • CV and interview skills workshops
  • Academic skills advice service
  • Counselling service
  • Disability service
  • Finance and money advice
  • Accommodation information

How do I apply?

For all full-time undergraduate courses in Higher Education you must apply through UCAS, which is the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service.

Applications are made online and if you are currently on an Access or an A level course you should be able to get help with this process from your college.

You can apply for up to a maximum of five courses on one application and you can apply for more than one course at the same university.

For more details about how to apply visit the Undergraduate website. Further information is also available from the UCAS website.

Need help?

If you are intending to apply to the University of Bradford and have difficulty with any aspect of completing your application or with accessing the internet in order to complete your application, please contact Caroline Priestley, our Adult Learner Adviser (contact details below), who will be pleased to help you.

Caroline Priestley, Education Liaison Officer/Adult Learner Adviser
Tel: 01274 235113

Top tips on preparing your application

See our top tips on preparing your application.